Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tamir Rice and a justice that only knows victims

When I was four or five, my dad took some spare lumber and lathed me a toy rifle. I look back and can’t quite fix memory’s eye on the thing, but my hand remembers that the stock was comfortable and I do remember looking down the wooden barrel and shooting imaginary bullets. The bullets hit people, dogs, the house, passing cars, trees, birds. I went pow.
Later, my parents did not buy us kids lots of toy guns. They were noisy. We did get water pistols, and I remember a pistol cap gun with a holster. But in comparison with our friends in the suburbs of Atlanta, we were not well stocked with toy arms. We played with theirs.
And then stopped. At no point did my parents talk with us about the real possibility that, with a toy pistol in our toy holster, we might be mistaken by the cops for a real killa and given a split second to prove that wasn’t the case before we were beaded with pistol shot – the real stuff this time. No, that didn’t come up.
What does that show? It shows that the I is white who is telling you this stuff.
We are told, by a prosecutor who did his best to defend the policeman who, in a well run police department, would have flunked out of the force before he entered it – Officer Loehmann, the killer, scored a 46 out of 100 on the exam that was supposed to test his police potential – that Tamir Rice died due to a perfect storm. The radio dispatcher forgot to mention that he was a juvenile and the gun he brandished was most likely a toy. Or, at least, the officers on the scene did not know this. This is the foundation for the prosecutor’s non-prosecutorial case. And he was so big! Indeed, criminal growth spurts are the justification for shooting black teens in so many of the headline cases. Tamir was 5 foot 8, which is almost a crime in itself, him being black. Michael Brown was a giant, who was so powerful that the policeman shooting him in Ferguson decided that, as in a movie, he was getting more powerful with each bullet he received. And Trayvon Martin was not only criminally big, but was wearing a hoodie. I was wearing a hoodie yesterday, too, but luckily all my growth spurts have been in a white body, so I am innocent, on the I is white principle.
The perfect storm is a better metaphor than the non-prosecuting prosecutor, a gentleman named Timothy McGinty, knew. He was part of that storm, the storm we are within, the storm that allows 12 year olds to be shot in a split second when they reach for their toy weapons.
The Police Union is happy, of course. In actuality, the police union just put its members in further danger. I can read the stats. I know the number of policemen being killed each year is rising. And I know that the number the police are killing have friends, relatives, and spectators, who can get guns. If we don’t get justice in the courts – and the prosecutor made sure that the case would never come to court, a little favor for the boys – justice will be enacted in the streets, a mathematical, leveling justice that only knows victims.

How long have we been here? 

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